MP3 Player for the Elderly - Advice please from Ageing Warriors

Discussion in 'Hardware - PCs, Consoles, Gadgets' started by Good CO, Oct 1, 2012.

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  1. Good CO

    Good CO LE Admin

    I'm turning to you, ARRSE's senior users, for advice. My dad is having problems sleeping partly because of medical issues. I recommended speaking books to him as a pleasant means of relaxing and falling asleep of an evening (I have been using Amazon's Audible service as a source of foreign language books to help improve my German and am really impressed by speaking books, something I'd previously only tried in passing while driving).

    So, back to the point, I lent by dad the ARRSE iPod Touch, bought for testing the iOS apps, for him to try out Audible and speaking books and he enjoyed it, but he finds the iPod very awkward to use. Long sightedness, not so nimble fingers and a lack of touchscreen experience and general IT skills make the thing near unusable for him.

    Can anyone recommend a currently available MP3 player, ideally that has the ability to run speaking book apps, that is suitable for a near-70 year old? Big buttons, bright display etc.
  2. This:


    fuckin iphone, forget my last
  3. Good CO

    Good CO LE Admin

    Thanks - unfortunately the Archos isn't compatible with Audible. I might buy one anyway and get speaking books from elsewhere - the library service for example, but will wait and see if anyone has any recommendations that are on the Audible list of supported devices.
  4. If your dad suffers from long-sightedness, his case is not dissimilar to that of my my mother-in-law (89 tomorrow!) who is gradually going blind through dry-related macular degeneration, is very hard of hearing and whose brain is seizing up. She suffers from sleeplessness as well and has a Roberts Elise FM/DAB radio to listen to during the night. Unfortunately, her reduced hearing (and a reluctance to wear her hearing aids) ensures that everyone else in the house also knows what's on Radio 5 Live at 3 am.

    My wife scoured the net for suitable talking book players but could not find anything which was simple to operate and had large buttons (MIL has fingers like sledge-hammers) until she contacted RNIB. They loan out a special talking book with aforesaid large buttons, etc, at an annual cost of £70. This includes the provision of 6 audio discs: when she has listened to 2 of the discs, she can send them back and they will send 2 replacements. We've not managed to persuade her to get another talking book for her bedside yet (she can afford it), so her nocturnal radio listening continues to dominate the house. But there we are - old people become more resistant to change - they just don't want to consider new ideas. But we may succeed one day.

    Whatever, contact RNIB - they may be able to provide what your dad needs.
  5. Good CO

    Good CO LE Admin

    Thanks very much. Your suggestion led me to an up-to-date review of MP3 players by the RNIB:

    Accessible digital music players - RNIB

    I'd found other pages but years out of date. This one is from May 2012 so well worth a look through. Obviously I'll post should I come up with the ideal widget just in case anyone else happens across this thread.
  6. Good CO

    Good CO LE Admin

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  7. One of those knock-off chinese android tablets would actually do the job me finks...large, bright screen, compatible with plenty of apps (probably this Audible one too). Plays mp3 of course too. It is obviously touchscreen, but the buttons would be larger than that of an ipod so less of an issue.
  8. The Kindle Touch (£109) has audio and can be used with audio books as well as most formats of digital book. Font size can be made quite large for those who are hard of seeing.
  9. My local library is phasing CD Talking Books out and introducing these:

    Playaway® and Playaway View® preloaded audio and video players

    Cost 50p for 6 weeks, can order titles, just plug in headphones (or speakers) and press play. About the size of 10 Players Number 10, use 1 x AAA battery that lasts for aeons.

    My Missus can get on with them, so your Dad probably will.
  10. Good CO

    Good CO LE Admin

    Thanks for all the feedback. A tablet is overkill and would run up against IT/Gadget dislike. My dad uses a computer but would much prefer something simple when it comes to just playing books. We'll see how he gets on with the Zen Stone. At £20 there's little to lose in trying it. Well, £20 in fact, less whatever you can sell it on for. With a tablet there is app install, crashes, less battery life, setting up wi-fi and so on to worry about. Fine for me (a very impressed Nexus 7 owner), but not so good for my dad.

    Many libraries have an audio book MP3 service called Overdrive that comes recommended by Bad CO, eg: Devon Libraries .

    I'll bear Playaway in mind if the Zen Stone isn't a success.
  11. Glad you seem to have found something suitable. Sadly, most of these machines are light-years beyond my MIL - we have to stick to the tried-and-tested one-hand, one-finger prod affairs. Wonder if we'll be much different when we're that age - the technology may well be incredibly beyond us.
  12. Good CO

    Good CO LE Admin

    Now I'm worried that I've given you a bum steer. It clearly has a poxy tiny display that wasn't there in the slightly older version discussed on the RNIB site, but I'm hoping that you don't need to use it. We'll see. Since this has sparked a bit of interest I'll post a quick review once my dad tries it out.